Fostering is looking after babies, children or young people who are in need of a safe, stable family environment. Foster carers receive a generous fostering allowance, expert training and ongoing support from their local National Fostering Group team.
In a nutshell, fostering provides a full-time, safe and nurturing family environment for children and young people in need. Foster carers, also known as foster parents, invest a great amount of time and energy into the wellbeing of a child or young person.
Fostering is a very rewarding role and no two days are the same. The look of joy on your young person's face when they have a new life experience and you turn their life around is priceless!
There are many reasons why children and young people need to be looked after by foster carers, and every single case is different. The myth that families are always at fault and foster children are always difficult is untrue. Some people just need more help than others.
As varied as the reasons for needing care are, there are three broad categories that most children in care fit into – periods of instability, harm from family members, or special needs.
Some families unfortunately go through periods of instability due to difficult circumstances and need time apart to find a solution. Common factors include things like medical conditions, family breakdowns, learning difficulties, substance dependencies and depression.
In cases where a child is experiencing an abusive home life, parents may have failed to meet the basic needs of their child, caused them harm, or exposed them to inappropriate behaviour or risk. The child or young person needs a foster home – a safe environment where they can thrive.
Abuse falls into five main groups: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, and exposure to domestic violence. These can all have long-lasting effects on the victim, so foster children may need extra special care and attention.
The parents of children with special needs occasionally need foster carers to take over so they can take a break. Looking after children can be challenging and draining on a full-time basis, so respite care lets parents recover for a weekend, a couple of weeks or the duration of the school holidays.
Special needs include learning disabilities, specific medical needs, severe disabilities and challenging behaviour. Only carers who have been specifically trained to deal with each need will be put forward for this type of foster care.
My foster carer is like Andy from Toy Story - Andy never gives up on Woody and my carer never gives up on me.
Fostering is an important undertaking. As one of the UK’s most experienced agencies, we’ll support you every step of the way – starting with your application to become a carer.
All our local fostering services have been rated either ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, so you can see how committed we are to ensuring a positive and reassuring foster care experience for you and your foster child.